Rotation order in focus as Angels set first spring week

Weaver, Wilson, Shoemaker could start season's first series as Cactus League nods unveiled

Rotation order in focus as Angels set first spring week

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Hector Santiago will start the Angels' Cactus League opener against the Brewers on Thursday (12:05 p.m. PT on MLB.TV), Mike Scioscia announced. Following him for the next three games will be Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Matt Shoemaker, which means that in all likelihood, Weaver-Wilson-Shoemaker will be the rotation order for the season-opening three-game series in Seattle on April 6-8.

The Angels don't necessarily care about splitting the lefties in their rotation. Rather, they like to avoid having back-to-back starters who don't consistently pitch deep in games, which is probably why Wilson -- coming off a relatively down season -- is slotted between Weaver and Shoemaker.

Santiago will compete with Nick Tropeano and Andrew Heaney for a rotation spot, and there's a good chance two of the three will crack the Opening Day roster, since Garrett Richards is likely to start the season on the disabled list. Cory Rasmus, Drew Rucinski, Jose Alvarez and some non-roster invitees are dark-horse candidates to make the rotation, as well.

Scioscia on young arms, catching

Scioscia said he expects all of his everyday guys -- namely Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar, Kole Calhoun, David Freese, Chris Iannetta and Matt Joyce -- to play in the Cactus League opener at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Starters will go two to three innings the first time through the order.

Weaver would be on track to make six Cactus League starts, then be on five days' rest before Opening Day, though he could opt for the extra day of rest earlier and be on a normal schedule for his first start of the regular season. Scioscia doesn't like to announce his Opening Day starter until the very end of spring camp, but Weaver looks primed to start his franchise-record seventh Opening Day (and sixth in a row).

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.